2023 Comprehensive Flood Hazard Management Plan

  2023 Flood Plan Adopted Oct. 2023

The 2023 Comprehensive Flood Hazard Management Plan was adopted by Pierce County Council on Oct. 18, 2023.   

Next steps 

Implementation of the 2023 Flood Plan programmatic and project recommendations is on-going. Contact Planning and Public Works staff for information on how to get involved.   

Flood Plan Annual Progress Report

Due to the County’s robust floodplain management and participation in the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Community Rating System (CRS), residents and businesses in unincorporated Pierce County continue to be eligible for a 40% reduction off National Flood Insurance Policy insurance premiums. 

The County submitted the annual progress report as part of the annual recertification for continued participation in the CRS. The report provides an overview of progress made on a suite of programmatic recommendations and capital projects identified in the 2013 Rivers Flood Hazard Management Plan and 2018 Update. Read the entire news release here.  

Supporting documents

Pierce County issued a Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) for the 2023 Comprehensive Flood Hazard Management Plan on August 9, 2023. The FEIS is based on comments received through a public process started in 2019. 

The Draft 2023 Flood Plan was reviewed by the Planning Commission in a public hearing on August 8, 2023. 

2023 Flood Plan

Flood Risk Assessment and Economic Analysis

Final Environmental Impact Statement

  About the Plan
Comprehensive Flooding Logo_2020Managing Flooding from Mount Rainier to Puget Sound 

From Mount Rainier to Puget Sound, Pierce County is home to diverse landscapes and natural resources. While we enjoy their beauty and benefits, these resources can also pose a threat to our communities during flood events.

What is the Comprehensive Flood Hazard Management Plan? 

Pierce County is currently in the process of drafting our Comprehensive Flood Hazard Management Plan (2023 Flood Plan). It addresses how Pierce County Planning and Public Works will provide various services to improve our community’s resilience to future flood hazards.

The 2023 Flood Plan will identify projects, policies, and programs that will reduce the impact of major flooding on the community to be implemented over a 10-year period.

The purpose of the 2023 Flood Plan continues to be to create a resilient community by:

  • Outlining the County’s local and federal obligations.
  • Recommending regional policies, programs, and projects that reduce risks to public health and safety.
  • Reducing damage to private improvements as well as critical infrastructure such as roads, highways, ferry landings, assisted living facilities, and bridges.
  • Reducing maintenance costs.
  • Improving habitat conditions while protecting and maintaining the regional economy.
2023 Comprehensive Flood Hazard Management Plan 

To develop a more comprehensive strategy, we are taking a new approach in updating the 2023 Flood Plan. While past plans only addressed riverine flooding, the 2023 Flood Plan will also include three additional flood risks: coastal, groundwater, and urban flooding

The 2023 Flood Plan will also ensure those efforts are both financially and physically achievable within their timeframe. In addition to advancing projects that were identified in the 2013 Plan, the 2023 Flood Plan will identify studies needed to inform future capital projects in the 2033 Plan.Flooding photos

2023 Comprehensive Flood Plan Timeline Opens in new window


Greta Holmstrom
Floodplain Services Planner
 [email protected]

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Document Library

The project is funded by fees from the Surface Water Management Service Charge. On your annual property tax statement, this charge is listed as “Surface Water Management.”
  Using a Pathways Approach

Pierce County is adopting a pathways approach to adaptive management in this 2023 Flood Plan. With uncertainty and limited known information regarding groundwater, coastal and urban flooding, the pathways approach promotes adaptive management. This approach enables adaptation plans to be ongoing by incorporating flexibility and adaptability into the decision-making process. Not all decisions must be made immediately, and options can remain on the table. This prevents decisions being made now that lock decision makers out of other options in the future. 

An adaptation pathway is a decision-making strategy that is made up of a sequence of manageable steps or decision points over time. This approach helps to deal with the deep uncertainty associated with climate change, shifts in public support, politics and policy changes. 

These uncertainties make it difficult to develop specific plans for future flood hazard management projects, particularly when little is known about the hazard, and instead highlight the need for plans that are flexible and responsive to changing conditions over time. 

The concept of adaptation pathways has emerged to address these challenges. The adaptation pathway approach has been successfully applied in many countries around the United States and the world. In this 2023 Flood Plan, three pathways will be prepared for groundwater, coastal and urban flood hazards. 

Watch the video below to learn more about the pathways approach.

Adaptation Pathways for Water Management

The Adaptation Pathways video that was referenced in Introduction to Pathways can be found below. 

  Survey Results from Virtual Scoping Period

Comprehensive Floodplain Survey Results Word CloudTo better understand residents' and stakeholders' experiences with flooding and their preferences for future flood risk reduction projects, Pierce County recently conducted an online survey. A total of 231 people took part in our survey. Thank you to those of you who responded! The virtual scoping period was from Dec. 14, 2020, to Jan. 31, 2021. Your responses will make sure that we are including important information in the study and prioritizing the right values as the work continues.

What did we hear?

  • Most survey participants live or own property in Pierce County.
  • Many of the survey participants have experienced flooding, ranging from low to severe in nature.
  • Most survey participates experienced flooding on their property or their street was flooded.

What will we do with the feedback?

  • The results from this survey help us learn from the community’s experiences with flooding in the County. We will use this information to gather where, when, and what types of flooding (coastal, groundwater, urban, and riverine) happens in the County.
  • We heard that you want to stay connected, so as this plan progresses, we will send periodic updates about progress we will continue to be available for questions.